> Family Sunday
The family will enjoy the wonderful aroma and delicious flavor of pork tenderloin with broiled apples. Heat oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup apple jelly, 1/4 cup lemon juice and 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice; blend well. Place 2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins in a shallow roasting pan; brush with half the jelly mixture. Roast 20 to 30 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes. Core and thinly slice 4 red apples; place on broiler pan coated with cooking spray; brush with remaining jelly mixture. Broil 5 to 6 inches from heat for 5 minutes or until tender. Slice pork; serve with apple slices.
Alongside, add baked sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, mixed greens and dinner rolls. For dessert, try fat-free vanilla ice cream.
Plan ahead: Save enough ice cream for Saturday.
Shopping list: Apple jelly, lemons, pumpkin pie spice, pork tenderloins, red apples, cooking spray, sweet potatoes to bake, Brussels sprouts, salad greens, dinner rolls, fat-free vanilla ice cream.
> Budget Monday
New recipes for meatloaf are always welcome because of the flavor and low cost. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cover and microwave 3/4 cup chopped onion on high 2 minutes or until tender; drain. In a large bowl, combine onion, 3 tablespoons ketchup, 1/2 cup panko crumbs, 1/4 cup chopped flatleaf parsley, 1 teaspoon less-sodium Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon each coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper, 1 pound ground sirloin and 1 egg; mix lightly. Place mixture on a rimmed baking sheet coated with cooking spray; shape into an 8-by-4-inch loaf. Brush top with 3 more tablespoons ketchup. Bake 35 minutes or until thermometer registers 160 degrees. Remove from oven; let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 8 slices and serve. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)
My favorite accompaniments are mashed potatoes and green beans, which make a meal straight from my childhood. Add whole-grain bread. Peaches are for dessert.
Shopping list: Onion, ketchup, panko crumbs, flatleaf parsley, less-sodium Worcestershire sauce, dried oregano, coarse salt, pepper, ground sirloin, egg, cooking spray, potatoes to mash, green beans, whole-grain bread, peaches.
Plan ahead: Save enough meatloaf and potatoes for Wednesday.
> Meatless Tuesday
Linguine with peas and basil (see recipe) is a quick no-meat dinner. Serve it with a Caesar salad and garlic bread. Make instant vanilla pudding with 1 percent milk for dessert. Stir crushed pineapple into the pudding for a little extra flavor.
Shopping list: Packaged refrigerated linguine, frozen green peas, extra-virgin olive oil, butter, lemon, coarse salt, pepper, fresh basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, Caesar salad, garlic bread, instant vanilla pudding, 1 percent milk, crushed pineapple.
> Heat and eat Wednesday
Slice the leftover meatloaf and make meatloaf sandwiches. Place the slices on whole-grain bread slathered with a little low-fat mayonnaise and a piece of red-tip lettuce. Use the leftover mashed potatoes for potato patties. Stir a beaten egg into the potatoes, shape into patties, coat with flour and pan-fry in a little olive oil until browned on both sides and heated throughout. Serve carrots alongside. Make dessert easy with kiwifruit.
Shopping list: Whole-grain bread, low-fat mayonnaise, red-tip lettuce, egg, flour, olive oil, carrots, kiwifruit.
> Express Thursday
"Yum, yum" is the description of saucy Italian-style chicken thighs (see recipe). Serve them over brown rice to soak up some of the flavorful sauce. Add an arugula salad and Italian bread. For dessert, plums are good.
Shopping list: Boneless, skinless chicken thighs, canned Italian-style diced tomatoes, tomato paste with Italian seasoning, onion, garlic, dried Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, brown rice, arugula, Italian bread, plums.
> Kids Friday
The kids will love rice hiding under creamy chicken. In a 2-quart saucepan, blend 1/2 cup skim milk and 1 (10 3/4-ounce) can less-sodium, less-fat condensed cream of chicken soup; heat on medium, stirring frequently. Stir in 1 (12-ounce) can drained chicken breast in water (or 1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast), a 4.5- to 6-ounce can or jar drained sliced mushrooms, 1/2 cup cooked sliced carrots and 1 (14.5-ounce) can drained diced tomatoes. Heat through. Serve over rice. Add celery sticks. For dessert, the kids will love Elmo's cinnamon-y sweet noodle-doodle pudding (see recipe).
Plan ahead: Cook enough rice for Saturday.
Shopping list: Skim milk, less-sodium/less-fat condensed cream of chicken soup, canned or cooked chicken breast, canned or jarred sliced mushrooms, carrots, canned diced tomatoes, rice, celery, cooking spray, medium-wide noodles, olive oil, eggs, part-skim ricotta cheese, low-fat plain Greek yogurt, sugar, cinnamon, golden raisins.
> Easy entertaining Saturday
It's easy and delicious, making smoky maple-mustard salmon the perfect entree for your guests. Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine 3 tablespoons whole-grain or Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon pure maple syrup, 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika or chipotle pepper, 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt; mix well. Place 4 (4-ounce) salmon fillets (skin side down) on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Spread mustard mixture evenly over salmon. Roast 8 to 12 minutes or until opaque throughout. (Adapted from Eating Well magazine.)
Serve with roasted asparagus, your rice pilaf, a bibb lettuce salad and whole-grain rolls. Celebrate the season with Christmas cookies and leftover ice cream for dessert.
Tip: Salmon skin will stick to uncoated foil for easy removal.
Shopping list: Whole-grain or Dijon mustard, pure maple syrup, smoked paprika or chipotle pepper, black pepper, coarse salt, salmon fillets, asparagus, rice pilaf, bibb lettuce, whole-grain rolls, Christmas cookies.
LINGUINE WITH PEAS AND BASIL (Tuesday)
Makes 4 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: For the pasta and peas
1 (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
1 cup frozen green peas
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
2 ounces shaved fresh Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
Cook pasta according to directions. Add peas during last 2 minutes of cooking. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup water. Meanwhile, heat oil and butter in pan over medium 1 minute or until butter melts. Remove from heat; stir in pasta mixture, reserved water, juice, salt and pepper. Toss to mix. Divide evenly into 4 bowls; top with basil and cheese. (Adapted from Cooking Light magazine.)
Per serving: 328 calories, 14g protein, 13g fat (35 percent calories from fat), 4.9g saturated fat, 41g carbohydrate, 20mg cholesterol, 633mg sodium, 3g fiber.
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SAUCY ITALIAN-STYLE CHICKEN THIGHS (Thursday)
Makes 12 servings
Preparation time: Less than 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour on high; 4 to 5 hours on low
12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
1 (14-ounce) can undrained Italian-style diced tomatoes
1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste with Italian seasoning
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
In a 4-quart or larger slow cooker, arrange chicken. In a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, tomato paste, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper; mix well. Pour over chicken. Cover and cook on high for 1 hour; reduce heat to low and cook 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is tender. (Adapted from "Cooking Light Slow Cooker: 57 Essential Recipes to Eat Smart, Be Fit, Live Well," Terri Laschober, editor; Oxmoor House, $17.95.)
Per serving: 162 calories, 23g protein, 5g fat (27 percent calories from fat), 1.1g saturated fat, 6g carbohydrate, 94mg cholesterol, 326mg sodium, 1g fiber.
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ELMO'S CINNAMON-Y SWEET NOODLE-DOODLE PUDDING (Friday)
Makes 6 servings
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes, plus noodles
2 cups medium-wide noodles (about 5 ounces)
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 large eggs
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup golden raisins
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Cook noodles according to directions; drain and toss with the oil. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, ricotta cheese, yogurt, sugar and cinnamon with a wooden spoon; stir in drained noodles and the raisins. Spoon into baking dish. Bake 45 minutes or until mixture is set in center and lightly browned. Cool before serving. (Adapted from "Sesame Street 'B' Is for Baking," Susan McQuillan; Wiley, $16.99.)Per serving: 322 calories, 15g protein, 13g fat (34 percent calories from fat), 4.4g saturated fat, 40g carbohydrate, 166mg cholesterol, 123mg sodium, 1g fiber.